Like the other services, the Navy offers a chance for qualified enlisted sailors to finish college and earn a commission as a Naval Officer. Until a few years ago, the Navy had a large variety of enlisted commissioning programs, including:
- Seaman to Admiral
- Enlisted Commissioning Program (ECP)
- Aviation Enlisted Commissioning Program (AECP)
- Nuclear Enlisted Commissioning Program (NECP)
- Civil Engineer Corps Enlisted Commissioning Program (CECECP)
- Fleet Accession to Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) (Includes Nurse Option)
- Broadened Opportunity for Officer Selection and Training (BOOST)
This wide array of programs lacked uniformity in benefits, selection procedures, educational opportunities, and program requirements. This created a very confusing web of program applications, deadlines, and choices for fleet applicants and, quite frankly, was very cumbersome for the Navy to manage and administer.
So, the Navy consolidated their enlisted commissioning programs into one system, which they call Seaman to Admiral-21, or STA-21. The STA-21 Commissioning Program is designed to meet the goals of the Navy in the 21st Century, while at the same time creating a fair and equitable system for outstanding active duty Sailors to receive a top-notch college education and become commissioned officers in the Unrestricted Line (URL), Special Duty Officer (Intelligence), Special Duty Officer (Cryptologic), Nurse Corps (NC), Supply Corps (SC), or Civil Engineer Corps (CEC).
What makes the STA-21 Program so different from most of the other commissioning programs is its fairness to the Sailor. Some of the previous enlisted commissioning programs required Sailors to pay their college tuition by themselves. Others removed the student from active duty status, thus taking away any source of income. The STA-21 Program will keep all participants on active duty at their current enlisted pay grade. This means they will receive all the pay, allowances, benefits, and privileges they currently enjoy and will still be eligible for enlisted advancement while in the program. In addition, the Sailors will receive up to $10,000 per year to cover tuition, books, and fees. The Sailor will pay any costs above $10,000 per year. Participants attending inexpensive universities that do not require use of the entire $10,000 for any year do not get to keep the difference, however.
To be eligible to apply to the STA-21 Commissioning Program, a Sailor must:
- Be a citizen of the United States. No waivers.
- Be recommended by the Commanding Officer. Applicants must have good moral character, officer potential, and unquestionable loyalty to the United States.
- Be serving on active duty in the U.S. Navy or Full Time Support (FTS), or Selected Reserve (SELRES), and Navy Reservists on active duty except for those on Active Duty for Training (ACDUTRA) to include Annual Training (AT) and initial Active Duty for Training (I-ACDUTRA). Individual Program Options may have additional requirements and specific restrictions.
- Be a high school graduate. High school diploma or equivalency certificates based upon military education experience and General Equivalency Diploma (GED) test results are acceptable to meet the educational requirements if issued by the Department of Education of a state, commonwealth, or territory of the United States of America or the District of Columbia.
- Be able to complete requirements for a baccalaureate degree in 36 months or less.
- Be able to complete degree requirements and be commissioned prior to the 27th birthday with possible waivers to 29. Waivers of this requirement may be considered understanding that specific age requirements for certain STA-21 option programs differ.
- Maintain a cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.5 or better on a 4.0 scale while enrolled in STA-21. Certain Program Options may have different requirements.
- Qualifying ACT and SAT scores MUST come from the same test. If you take multiple tests, the Navy will take your BEST scores within three (3) years of application deadline (i.e., applicants for 2005 must submit scores from a test taken after 01 July 2002). After 5 April 2005, the NEW SAT will be in three sectons. The Navy looks at the Math and the Critical Reading sections of the test. To be eligible, the Navy requires a minimum of 1000 SAT, (500 Math and 500 Critical reading). Older test was 500 Math, 500 Verbal. The Navy will still accept the scores from earlier tests if they are within three years of the yearly application due date. ACT minimum score of 41 (21 Math, 20 English) is required. Applicants for the Nuclear Option must have a minimum of 1140 SAT (combined Math/Verb or Critical Reading) or 50 ACT (combined Math/English). No waivers.